When I arrived at Skyline College the theater hadn’t seen any money for upgrades since 1981 when “Title 13” was placed in effect. The district gave a considerable amount of money the first year I worked for them and I designed a full upgrade of the sound and lighting systems from the ground up. Working closely with Brent Milton and Chris Brendenson of PACWEST, not as an “end-user” but as my own design consultant, nearly half a million dollars was spent and the theater is now considered a first-rate performance center for San Bruno and the surrounding communities.
The upgrade included a complete overhaul of the outdated and unsafe analog lighting control and analog dimmers. The old-school “stiletto-patch-bay” was completely removed in favor of a “One-to-One” Dimmer-to-circuit-to-channel system that consisted of three 96 channel ETC Sensor racks and an extensive POE networked control system accessed by an ETC ION with two touch screens giving it the practical functionality of an EOS, and a Unison arch. control system that consists of a “Paradigm” touch screen on stage (for dance class lighting access and programmable control) and two six channel control panels (one in the booth and one in the lobby).
The outdated sound system was replaced with a 24 channel hard snake (12 channels to each side of the stage) and augmented by a 96 channel digital network that is accessed through an M7CL-48 in front of house, an LS9-32 as a monitor mixer (contained in a large road case that includes eight channels of amplification and a loomed patch panel for operation outside of the venue; ie: outdoor concerts, graduation in the gym, rental applications). The P.A. was replaced with an EAW NT720 eight wedge line array for center vocals, two EAW NT29 10″ full range speakers for L/R, and two stacked EAW NT29 Bass bins for low end.
The Booth I remodeled completely, removing the old “low voltage control lightdesk” and circa 1978 “Tangent” sound desk and clearing the entire room down to three walls and a sliding glass window that can open 2/3 of the booth to the house for better sound quality. I then designed and built a desk that custom fit the new lightboard and soundboard and accommodated the new wall mounted rack that contained the EAW Processor, two Crown 4000i amplifiers for monitors and a 20 channel Sennheiser wireless receiver system. The control desk itself was surfaced in scratch resistant Lexan (photos of various productions could be slipped underneath the surface to decorate the control booth with a student history collage)
Finally, with money raised by Skyline College Theater Club which I founded as advisor in my first year we purchased a package of ten used High End Systems Robotic instruments that consisted of eight Studio Color 575s (four mounted on the first electric and four mounted over the apron in the second AP), and two Studio Spots (mounted in the first AP over the house). With my High End Systems training I received while working for Disney, I was able to maintain and repair all robotics through my seven years that I was with Skyline. Luckily, they would break down an average of one per semester, giving me a wonderful opportunity to incorporate the repair into my class’ lab/lecture curriculum. This allowed my student to receive hands on training that would not normally be available at the community college level.